Celebrating the USVI’s long ties with Puerto Rico this past week, the Virgin Islands/Puerto Rico Friendship Committee opened the St. Thomas/St. John weekend celebration on Friday with a photo exhibit by author and photographer Mario Picayo at the V.I. Council on the Arts.
This well-known photographer mounted photos of carnivals in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic in an exhibit titled “Movements in Cultural Reflections” to pay tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month, according to the V.I./P.R. Friendship Committee. Bellows International provided a wine tasting.
The celebration continued Saturday at E’s Garden Tea House and Things, where the audience was treated to Louis Taylor & Friends’ renditions of local, regional, Latin American and jazz music. Students in the Charlotte Amalie High School foreign language class recited original poetry along with V.I. poets Winifred Oyoko Loving, Elaine Jacobs, Monique Smith, Mary Lou Burnett and Mary Edwards. Paintings by V.I artist Roy Naska Hansen were on display.
The highlight of this annual celebration continued with a “Festival in Dance” at Reichhold Center for the Arts on Monday, featuring dances from Puerto Rico, the USVI, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The Superior Court Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra performed; the Mungo Niles Cultural Dancers demonstrated quadrille and merengue; and the Caribbean Ritual Dancers offered a bamboula, conga and a combo dance ensemble.
Guateque – Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico, along with its folk orchestra, opened its presentation with a solemn celebration of the Virgin of Mount Carmel. They dazzled the audience with dances such as danzón, guaracha, cha-cha-cha and merengue.
Closing out the festivities was a special lecture and demonstration by Guateque at the St. John School of the Arts on Tuesday at Julius Sprauve and Gifft Hill Schools.